By Elizabeth Kang
Hallelujah! The grandparents volunteered to take the kids overnight! Don’t settle for another hum drum dinner/movie date. Instead, head up to Napa for a real escape! We discovered a sexy and modern boutique hotel overlooking the vineyards, just steps away from a renowned restaurant and hip tasting room.
4 p.m. Drop the kids off and get outta Dodge! Napa’s verdant valleys and winning wineries await, and they’re only an hour’s easy drive away.
5 p.m. Check into SENZA Hotel. This sleek and modern hotel has a cozy, boutique feel, but is still appointed with all the luxurious amenities you’d expect at a larger resort. Heated floors, posh furnishings, in-room fireplaces, complimentary breakfast and private patios overlooking the vineyard all add up for a luxurious stay at a surprising value. SENZA Hotel is owned by Kathryn and Craig Hall (of the renowned HALL winery.) The winemaking couple purchased the property in 2006 and lovingly transformed it from a quaint Bed & Breakfast to the upscale, posh hotel it is today.
6 p.m. Wine and Cheese Hour. You do not want to miss SENZA’s nightly complimentary Wine and Cheese Hour (from 6-7 p.m.) located in the lobby. The cheese & charcuterie boards are absolutely stunning and very generous, and the hotel features tastings from a different winery nightly — a fantastic way to experience a new winery without having to leave the hotel. A friendly hotel employee is present to pour and chat about the night’s featured wines. The wine and cheese hour is also a great time to take stroll around the property and explore the hotel’s impressive collection of outdoor art displays.
7 p.m. Stroll to dinner. Thanks to your hotel’s fantastic location, dinner at the famed Bistro Don Giovanni is only a five-minute stroll away. Reservations at this legendary, long-running Italian haunt are a must on a Saturday night, so if you didn’t get a chance to make one, be prepared to wait. The generous cocktails, homemade pastas, and authentic tiramisu are worth waiting for.
9 p.m. A nightcap. After an easy walk back to SENZA Hotel, take advantage of the cozy outdoor fire pit on property, or enjoy the privacy of your room’s own warming fireplace. Every room in the hotel is equipped with a large in-room fireplace and deep soaking tub — the makings of a very relaxing evening. The hotel offers a free bottle of Sauvignon Blanc with a YELP “check in,” so your nightcap is covered.
9:00 a.m. You’ll never miss the fact that SENZA Hotel doesn’t have an onsite restaurant, because they provide a generous, sumptuous breakfast spread every morning. The lavish buffet-style offerings include fresh pastries from the legendary Bouchon Bistro, delectable daily quiche, smoked salmon, seasonal fruit, gourmet coffee and a help-yourself mimosa station. Have a relaxing, leisurely breakfast in the cozy dining area, and help yourself to a daily newspaper.
11:00 a.m. Spaaaaaaah. Be sure to book your spa treatment at SENZA Hotel on the way up, as all services do require reservations. Enjoy an unwinding massage, luxurious facial or couple’s massage in their zen-like spa room.
12:30 p.m. Ashes & Diamonds Winery. This swanky newcomer is conveniently located within walking distance, down the road from SENZA Hotel The service is welcoming, the wine and food is delicious, and the ambiance channels some impressive mid-century-modern vibes. Interestingly, the winery is named after the 1958 Polish Nazi flick of the same name.
You can opt for either a traditional tasting experience of four or six wines (including a delicious Cab Franc,) or you can experience a tasting and food pairing lunch. The lunch includes all six wines from the current release, plus a five-course food pairing of seasonal food prepared in-house.
2 p.m. More Tastings! Squeeze in one more tasting before you head back home, and explore some of the lesser-known (but no less delicious) tasting rooms in the immediate area. There are plenty of nearby wineries to choose from, all within a couple-minute’s drive, including Trefethen Family Vineyards, Laird Family Estate, O’Brien Estate, Black Stallion Winery, and many others.